Hanoi Day Trips: 9 Ideas To Make The Most Of A Day From Hanoi

Whilst one could easily spend eternity in Vietnam’s crowded capital without getting bored, there are myriad easily-missed day trips to sate your appetite for adventure. As dynamic as Hanoi is, spending a day getting back to nature can be a refreshing change. Hanoi’s situation is within the cultural vantage point of Northern Vietnam. This means that those in the know are positively spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a day trip. However, for those that aren’t, picking an excursion can be tricky. That’s where we come in! Here’s our list of the nine best day trips from Hanoi.

1. Halong Bay:

9 Ideas To Make The Most Of A Day From Hanoi: Ha Long Bay

No list regarding ‘the best anything to do in Vietnam’ would be worth it salt without getting Halong Bay in there somewhere. Halong Bay is picture-perfect Vietnam at its most iconic and sits at around three hour’s drive from the capital. Whilst Halong town is about as beautiful as my big toe, the bay is a one-of-its-kind among the natural gifts the world over. Halong Bay terrify with thousands of green karst peaks erupting from sparkling turquoise surf. There’s no getting around paying the extra for the boat trip, this takes you through the intricate maze of mountains, and usually includes lunch and admission to beaches and caves.

2. Tam Coc:

Tam Coc

Once you’ve finished your boat trip round Trang An (takes around two hours), you’d be crazy not to pop round the corner to Tam Coc. Tam Coc, only ten minutes from Trang An, boasts another vast array of karst mountains which, tour depending, can be viewed via bike or boat ride. Just book a tour from the Old Quarter, or catch a local bus from Hanoi. Then rent a motorbike for 100,000 VND to explore the town yourself.

3. Bat Trang Village:

Bat Trang Village

For those looking for a shorter drive, Bat Trang Village is just thirty minutes from Hanoi’s Old Quarter. So it’s a low-commitment excursion. The villages’ distinctive porcelain and ceramic goods have brought fame to the area from throughout Asia. Observing the artisans at work is beautiful and relaxing. There is also the opportunity to pick up an authentic piece for a great price.

4. Duong Lam Village:

Duong Lam Village

Duong Lam, a typical northern Vietnam village with many ancient features preserved, offers a tranquil and nostalgic weekend getaway. About 45 kilometers west of downtown Hanoi, Duong Lam Village in the capital’s Son Tay Town, still preserves many enchanting historical and cultural features. From Hanoi, it takes one hour by bus, coach or motorbike to reach Duong Lam. Though there are many entrances to the village, Mong Phu Gate remains a popular starting point for tourists. This is reportedly the only ancient village gate left intact in northern Vietnam.

5. Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex:

Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex
Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex is located in Ba Sao Town, Kim Bang District, Ha Nam Province, 12 km from Phu Ly City, and about over 70 km south of Ha Noi. It lies in an area of about 5,000 hectares, has a unique location, because its back leaning on the mountain, and face overlooking the lake, which creats a poetic scenery like a fairyland. Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex has a convenient location to connect famous tourist sites and destinations such as Huong Pagoda, Trang An, Tam Coc,… You can discover the best day trips from Hanoi and explore Vietnam’s cultural, historical and natural sites with ease.

6. Hoa Lu:

9 Ideas To Make The Most Of A Day From Hanoi: Hoa Lu

Hoa Lu was once Vietnam’s capital city and sits 100 kilometers south of the current capital, Hanoi. Between 900-1100 AD, Hoa Lu was the epicenter of government and commerce in the country. Vestiges of its proud history still stand today. Whilst the citadel and building from back then have long since crumbled, the stunning gate to the city is still visible. As well as several impressive temples such as Le Dai Hanh, Dinh Tien Hoang, and Nhat Tru, which are all well worth a visit. Watch out – during public and Buddhist holidays, the whole place can be overrun with domestic tourists, so check the calendar beforehand.

7. Ba Vi National Park:

9 Ideas To Make The Most Of A Day From Hanoi: Ba Vi National Park

To truly escape the fumes of Hanoi, head two hours west to Ba Vi National Park. Three mountainous peaks comprise the main sights of the park. On the central and second tallest peak which is known in Vietnamese as Tan Vien, you will find a shrine dating back to the 11th century. The shrine is devoted to the Buddhist Mountain God, who will protect you for the rest of your hike! Make sure you’ve done all of the trails you can before you get too tied to return, as all are unique and equally special. A spa awaits you on the way down, so don’t forget to reward yourself.

8. Trang An:

9 Ideas To Make The Most Of A Day From Hanoi: Trang An

Trang An is ostensibly the most popular day trips from Hanoi, a title it deserves due to its beautiful natural scenery. Even the journey to get there is a trip. As you will pass small hamlets and townships in Ninh Binh province, before getting into boats and taking the rest of the journey by on the Sao Khe River.  Your guide will entertain you as she rows – occasionally with her feet, and more often than not whilst on the phone/peeling an orange/smoking a cigarette, too! At Trang An, the boat ride continues, and you’ll float peacefully in and out of prehistoric caves. Going past beautiful limestone mountains and past views that will make you feel like Indiana Jones.

9. Huong Pagoda (Perfume Pagoda):

9 Ideas To Make The Most Of A Day From Hanoi: Huong Pagoda

Perfume Pagoda is actually an enormous complex of Buddhist pagodas, as well as temples and communal houses. The complex is centred around Huong Son Cave, referred to as Chua Trong (Inner Pagoda), where the central temple is located. At peak times, generally between February to April, Perfume Pagoda is heaving with Vietnamese Buddhists making pilgrimages to the holy site. Which is fascinating in itself, if a little crowded.

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